Roll up roll up folks and welcome to BIATCH round. During this round of matches several teams get to play against their bitches. Geelong has won 11 of the past 12 matches against the Tigers. The Roos have owned the Bulldogs on the last five occasions. Port regulalry despose of the Eagles and Essendon never fear an upcoming fixture against the Dockers. They are funny thing these streaks though and successfully tipping when these streaks might end will give you a good leg up in the early stages of this year’s footy tipping.
Adelaide vs. St Kilda Football Park
The Friday night game looks a tough one to pick. On paper the Saints have the Crowies covered but this match is not being played on paper, it is being played at Football Park where the Saints haven’t played since Robert Harvey inspired them to a famous victory in the 2005 Qualifying Final. The Crows appear to have successfully flown under the radar again this year and I think that on home turf their impressive youngsters such as Otten, Patrenko and Dangerfield can prosper along with unheralded types like Bernie Vince, David Mackay and Ivan Maric. For the Saints I can see Brendan Goddard being a menace but in this match the loss of Robert Harvey could prove telling. I believe that the Crows have a slight edge in midfield and that the loss of Hudgton and Maguire at the back might prove to be decisive in what will be a fairly tight encounter. Not much in this one and I reckon Adelaide by 13 points.
Geelong vs. Richmond Cat Park
I believe that this match will be a lot closer in character to the dour struggle of Round 22 2005 rather than the romp at The Dome in Round 6 2007. In 2005 the Tigers shut down the normally free running Cats in an unedifying spectacle. The Cats were scoreless in the last term but hung on to win by a point with the Tigers putting on a floodathon. The Tigers have been under the pump all week and I can’t shake the feeling that the Cats will struggle to put them away even at home in front of the Cat faithful. Geelong have been diabolical in front of the big sticks and sadly I can see this trend continuing for another week. Luckily for Geelong Richmond love kicking the aggot back to the opposition so the upset isn’t on, but I don’t think a thrashing is either. The Cats will remain unbeaten here but look for the Tigers to claw back a semblence of self respect. Geelong by 31 points in a match that probably won’t be stored away reverently in the archives.
Collingwood vs. Melbourne MCG
The Pies are looking a bit shaky here but not as shaky as they’ll be if they drop this match to the Demons. Melbourne have improved and this was shown last week when they showed a willingness to apply pressure to the opposition in a manner not seen all that often in 2008. However, despite the Pies lacklusture efforts in its last two matches, they are still a talented group. The return of Rocca hasn’t rolled around and big Leroy Brown will get a chance to have a crack at the Melbourne defence. Collingwood has also included a couple of Dicks for this match. Collingwood have too much class and far too much to lose to drop this match to Melbourne. One thing that Melbourne, Richmond and Fremantle have in common at the moment is ordinary footskills and that just kills you in the modern game. Until improvement in this area is shown, I find all three sides frankly untippable…and I still rate the Pies. Collingwood by 41 points to square the Heath Ledger.
Carlton vs. Brisbane The Dome
The Carlton Juddernaught and the accompanying hype sickens me. The Blues are a bit like Lary Fortensky, thrilled with the prospect of being Elizabeth Taylor’s 8th husband. When I was growing up Liz popped by my primary school once and proposed marriage to half the class…come on, everybody beats Richmond. I looked ahead at the schedule and saw the next opponent…Brisbane Lions…a team I absolutely do not rate. Once again the Blues should get the job done and while Lions fans might be tempted to believe that Travis Johnstone might be able to play like he did last week every week, history shows that Trav’s next day out won’t be due for about five weeks. a hampered Fev might be underdone but ditto for Simon Black who was badly missed last week. The Blues will have problems with the twin towers up front and Waite and Thornton will probably be the men for the key jobs. The problem for the Lions is that if the twin towers don’t get on the scoreboard they are relying on Rhan Hooper who can barely get himself to training. The Blues have momentum at the moment and will be keen to replicate that winning feeling against a side that struggled to put away the underwhelming Eagles away on home turf. I reckon it’s the Blues to squeak home by eight points to continue to be the Mouse that roared.
Sydney vs. Hawthorn Homebush
The Hawks have gone past the Swans. The modern game appears to have gone past the Swans, and I’m going past the Swans. The Swans showed last week that they can still play good football but they also showed that they can’t slip a gear when the opposition gets a run on. The cygnets haven’t had enough games put into them and aren’t ready to assume the mantle of leadership which still falls to players such as Goodes, O’Keefe, Hall and Captain Kirk. The backline looks very wobbly and the potential for Franklin and Roughead to do serious damage is huge. The Hawks have a lot of players out though and last week they added Simon Taylor, Travis Tuck and Micheal Obsorne to the list. Osborne and Tuck were quite good against the Cats but the return of Ellis and Campbell will alleviate some of the pressure but the Hawks are currently nowhere near their best. Unfortunately, the Swans aren’t strong enough to take advantage of it. In a reasonably low scoring encounter for most of the the match I can see the Hawks sneaking away a bit at the end to record a 34 point victory.
Essendon vs. Fremantle The Dome
I know it’s only round two but Fremantle are quite possibly at the moment the worst team in the competition. Their gun youngster Rhyce Palmer can’t kick. Their experienced midfielder Paul Haselby is slower than Homer Simpson. They recruit rejects from a team that hasn’t played finals for years just because they have a tough reputation and then rush them straight back into the side because their list is so inexperienced. They delay the development of promising Centre Half Forward by recruiting an erratic CHF and then two years later shove him at CHB. Thier magnetic board has personality than the head coach. I had to say something here, Freo are untippable and even a haphazard Essendon should bag the four points here. Need any more be said? Don’t tip Fremantle in Melbourne end of story. Essendon by 20 points in what might just provide the Comic relief element for 2009.
Western Bulldogs vs. North Melbourne MCG
We’ve had it drummed into our heads for months now. Bulldogs good Kangaroos baaaaad baaaah. I’m not quite so sure about this. Yeah the Bullies are going to be hard to beat once more but I just don’t see the Roos as being easybeats this season. It’s pretty hard to get a feel for both teams’ form at this stage of the season. The Dogs didn’t really give a yelp pre-season and the Kangaroos where shocking in their NAB outing against the Blues. Both sides then cleaned up cellar dwellers and both sides follwed up with round one victories against ordinary sides that provided them with Sausage Rolls on a platter…with tomato sauce yum yum. The Roos have been the masters in the last five matches between the two sides but this is not why I’m tipping the Roos. I think that the twighlight fixture and the late flight back to Melbourne will significantly eat into the Dogs’ preparation for this match and that North will use the nearly two extra days rest to full advantage. The Dogs will run out legs and the Roos will win by 18 points.
West Coast vs. Port Subiaco
The Power flickered on and off against the Bombers and finally clicked into gear in the last stanza as they put the Bombers away. The Eagles had a real crack at the Gabba but surely Mark Lecras can’t bag another six of the best against the Power. It’s one thing to get the clearances (for a quarter and half mind you) against Brisbane without Simon Black but it is another thing entirely to do the same thing to Port who look pretty settled to me. The Eagles big advantage of course is Dean Cox who should lord it over veteran Brendan Lade but the fast players of Port look a little better in their disposal of the pill. This year I’m picking teams on skill and at the moment Port appear to have more than the Eagles. Port to remain undefeated with a 26 point victory.
So in other words, no real floggings this week. For anyone who tipped my Dogs or Port bets last week you would have made a bit of coin. I reckon this week you could do worse than select Geelong by under 39.5 and I think that the bookies have missed a trick here with the Roos having an extra two days preparation against a side they’ve beaten five times in a row.
My match of the round report this week will be between Brisbane and Carlton. I reckon this one will be a cracker and is the game I’m least certain of in my tips.
Last week 7: Total: 7